The accurate evaluation of maize stalk lodging resistance in different growth periods enables timely management of lodging risks and ensures stable and high maize yields. Here, we established five different sowing dates to create different conditions for maize growth. We evaluated the effects of the different growth conditions on lodging resistance by determining stalk morphology, moisture content, mechanical strength and dry matter, and the relationship between stalk breaking force and these indicators during the silking stage (R1), milk stage (R3), physiological maturity stage (R6), and 20 days after R6. Plant height at R1 positively affected stalk breaking force. At R3, the coefficient of ear height and the dry weight per unit length of basal internodes were key indicators of stalk lodging resistance. At R6, the key indicators were the coefficient of the center of gravity height and plant fresh weight. After R6, the key indicator was the coefficient of the center of gravity height. The crushing strength of the fourth internode correlated significantly and positively with the stalk breaking force from R1 to R6, which indicates that crushing strength is a reliable indicator of stalk mechanical strength. These results suggest that high stalk strength and low ear height benefit lodging resistance prior to R6. During and after R6, the coefficient of the center of gravity height and the mechanical strength of basal internodes can be used to evaluate plant lodging resistance and the appropriate time for harvesting in fields with a high lodging risk.